Employees & Cell Phones

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Pelican, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Pelican

    Pelican LawnSite Member
    Posts: 164

    I'm getting progressively more impatient with an employee and his cell phone. He receives 10 to 15 calls a day while working which is hindering production. Not only is he distracted from his work, but those who are working with him are as well (he's the foreman).

    He is on the Nextel system as I am, and we are able to communicate through Direct Connect which is greatly beneficial, but I'm to the point of telling him to leave his phone behind while on duty. Nearly half the time I try to call him my display shows he is allready on line with someone else. I do want them to have emergency communication though and would feel awful if something happened and he was unable to call for help.

    I'm thinking a compromise might be limiting personal communications to break periods and lunch. Does anyone else have policies regarding cell phone use?
     
  2. E-man

    E-man LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 136

    First of all I would tell him he is on your time ,and to make his calls after work or during lunch.

    Are you paying for the phone? If so tell him every minute he uses the celluar you will charge him a per minute rate , and that all he is permitted to use is the direct connect. dont give him any slack even if he does pay for the usage its still your time if he worked at lowes or somthing you definately would not see him on his phone all day.

    Sorry for rambling on but my employees are driving me nuts also.:rolleyes:
     
  3. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    You are paying his wage. He is getting paid to visit with friends, and he knows it. I do not know of any landscape task that can be done while on the phone. Speak up! If he does not like it tell him to hit the road. Chances are he is working more than 40 hours a week and you are paying him time and a half to socialize. What is wrong with him? That is stealing! Tell him that his lack of good judgement is considered his letter of resignation.
     
  4. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Same boat here!!

    We have 3 employees take home phones. 2 turn them on in AM when leaving for work and use for work purposes only. Third uses it all the time for his phone and all. Here's what we do. Myself and wife have upgraded unlimited DC, and extended peak w/ free w/end/nites. Employees get 500 DC mins + probably 250 phone mins (more than enough). Their base bills are $39.99/month. Thats all we pay. If any go over bill, want extra time, voice mail, caller ID, etc..., they pay us or we garninsh wages for overages. If we find they're abusing phone (they are pretty cool about respecting my work time), then the phones will stay here. I have 3 employees who have their own phones (Nextel) and I've got their ID#'s and have them on dc too. I usually won't bother them unless I am checking to see if they're running a little late in AM, or if one has to run a crew for a sick foreman (then of course, I compensate them for the extra effort).

    Bob
     
  5. Pelican

    Pelican LawnSite Member
    Posts: 164

    Thanks for all the replies.

    A little more info:

    The phone is his personal phone, but we both use Nextel and communicate for business purposes through his personal ID number. This is a great tool and eliminates the need for private radio service.

    This is also the best employee I've had, he knows the business, is a great operator and can get something running when it breaks. This has enabled me to have multible projects on the go at once, a new endeavor for me.

    His phone both helps the business but hurts production at the same time. I agree with the rest of you that his personal calls shouldn't be made on my time.
     
  6. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249

    I had an employee once that was always on the phone. I made a few remarks about it. I was trying to be nice and not piss him off. One day the straw broke the camels back. I walk into the back yard to find the mower shut off and he was BSing up a storm on the phone. I interupted him and asked if there was a family emergency. He stated no. I then proceded to tell him that unless there was he was only allowed to use his phone when we were on a break, or driving between jobs and if that didn't help the problem then I would tell him to leave it SHUT OFF when he was on my time. All while the guy he had been talking to heard on the phone. That fixed the problem, but then I would have to hear him BSing while driving to the next job. I never saw some body that could socialize so much. He shortly quit. But I got to the point where I was so pissed that I had to do some thing.
     
  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    think pelicans problem aint so easy to handle. this fellas a key man and knows it.
    looks like hard decision time to me.
    hes gotta be reeled in a bit tho . imho
     
  8. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Posts: 949

    I know that a good worker is hard to find. Have you mentioned the fact that personal phone calls should be made on his time? I don't get the cell phone thing. I have one and use it occasionally but there are people that have that thing stuck to their head all day long. Are they that important and how much stuff can one possibly talk about?
     
  9. rvsuper

    rvsuper Senior Member
    Posts: 930

    My 3 employees do not have cell phones, but I do, which I leave in the truck. It has voice mail, so if it was an emergency, they would either keep calling or leave a voice mail. I have mentioned it before to the guys that if they get a phone, it either stays in the truck or clipped on to them shut off.
     
  10. Cut 2 Please

    Cut 2 Please LawnSite Member
    Posts: 221

    Since this guy is a key employee and would be a major loss if you got rid of him, I have a couple of ideas.
    1. Have him leave the phone in the truck while he is working. That way he could use it while driving from job to job. However it would be good to have another employee do the driving if possible to avoid disstractions and a possible wreck.
    2. If you need him to have the phone on him at all times have him get a hands free earpiece and microphone that clips to his shirt and plugs into the phone. That way it would be possible for him to talk and work at the same time.
    These are just a couple of ideas. Don't know if they are all that good but just trying to give you some options.
     

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